Resiliency has been the motto for the Longhorns all year. The motto for the Big 12 Championship will be no different.
The team has won the Big 12 tournament title seven times, with its most recent victory coming in 2005. Coming off a loss in its final regular season matchup, the fourth seeded Longhorns will earn a first round bye before looking for redemption against the fifth seeded Oklahoma State Cowboys, who handed them that loss.
After a year filled with many ups and a few downs, the Longhorns finished with a 14-7 record, including a 7-2 conference mark to earn them the No. 13 ranking in the country. This year’s team is filled with talent from freshmen to veterans.
Junior All-American Aeriel Ellis came into the season as the cornerstone of the Longhorn’s lineup and for the most part she did not disappoint, finishing as the No. 38 ranked player in the nation.
Senior Krista Damico emerged as a leader for the team after racking up an incredible 12 straight victories at one point this year. She finished the season No. 67 in the country, winning 14 of her matches of the year and buoying the women to an impressive record.
Sophomores Cierra Gaytan-Leach and Elizabeth Begley came out of nowhere to entrench themselves as the backbones of this lineup. Playing out of the four and six spots in the lineup for most of the year, they provided key points almost every match.
Gaytan-Leach earned recognition for her gritty play towards the end of the year, capping close wins against Baylor and Texas Tech. Begley finished the year with 15 wins to her singles record, including a perfect 9-0 record in conference play.
The two sophomores weren’t the only players making noise for the bottom of the team’s lineup, as freshmen Noel Scott and Lina Padegimaite finished their first-year campaigns with a lot to boast about.
As a duo Scott and Padegimaite finished as the No. 55 doubles pair in the country. Scott finished the season with many important victories for the Longhorns, as she was ranked in the top 100 players for the majority of the season.
Padegimaite finished the season very strong emerging as a big winner, notching 15 singles wins including a perfect Big 12 record.
Success has followed the Longhorns all year, with their trademark resiliency leading the way. This weekend will put both their accolades and will to the final test.